Saturday, May 30, 2009

Date Night

Thursday night was the first Aquathon of the year. I convinced G to sign both of us up for the series. Seemed like a good excuse to get out of the house and get some open water swim practice in as well.

Let me preface this report by saying I've had no thought of ever being able to beat G in one of these races. With her swimming background she is simply too fast in the water, and I'm really not any faster by foot. Soooooooo......

I arrived at the race site straight from work about two hours early. Had the bike in the truck so I went for an easy 1 hour ride along the lake. Nice ride, but I really don't like riding in Madison. Way to much traffic. Back to the race site I checked in and got body marked. Had no desire to get in the water, it was f'ng cold.

G arrived not particularly happy about the situation, cold water, not exactly warm day. Mentioned multiple times how crazy this was. To her credit, between the two of us, she was the first one in the water, actually swimming a couple hundred yards. I on the other hand got in with about ten minutes left, did just a couple of strokes, and pretty quickly got out. Cold water, somebody told G 58 degrees.

Beach start, waded in rather slowly while all the crazies ran in ahead of us. The first 3-4 minutes were the worst. The cold completely took my breath away, apparently my brief dip earlier did not acclimate me to the water. So it was swim a couple strokes, stop to breath, repeat.

Hands fairly quickly went numb (feet were numb before the start), but I was able to get the breathing under control and swim. Drank way to much lake water, as it was just choppy enough to be a problem. Sighting was actually not to bad, I swam wide for most of the race, but felt I at least was swimming in a straight line.

Coming into the beach I noticed a lot of people walking in so after a bit more swimming I joined them, stood up, and began the wetsuit peeling process. Was good to be out of the water. According to my watch I touched land at 18:12, my fastest swim at this race ever. I'm convinced the course was short, I never swim that fast, much less 1/2 frozen. I've been meaning to look at average swim times at last years races for comparison, but haven't got around to it yet.

Anyway, heading into transition is where it hit me. G's running stuff is still here. Oh shit, something is seriously wrong. No way I beat her out of the water. Look at the lake (without glasses), useless. Finish getting ready to run, still no G. Now I'm really starting to get worried.

Stand around and wait, finally after about 3 minutes she walks into transition. Panic attack is how she put it, the combination of congestion and cold (and lack of much open water experience in my opinion) was too much. She mentioned holding onto a kayak at several points and doing the backstroke for most of it. Tough swim, it reminded much of my first experience at this race last year.

I left G in transition after a brief conversation and went out to run. Had bad side stitches for the entire thing. I'm guessing too much lake water. Stopped at the turn around to retie my shoes (read, excuse to stop) then ran it back in, passing G shortly after the turn. On the home stretch I looked down at my ankles and noticed I didn't have a timing chip. Shit, shit, shit. Not that I was going to win it or anything, but it's nice to have official results. Crossed the line at 49:30 after a 27:00 minute run. Not a stellar effort, but I'll take it.

Post Race
Headed downtown and ate at Restaurant Muramoto for what was easily the best meal we've had in a long time. Highly recommend it, if you're willing to try some things that may be a bit close to the edge.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Half Time

Madison Half Marathon this morning. Beautiful day, probably started in the low 50's, upper 60's by the time we finished. Few clouds, some sun, one very brief sprinkle, good day for a run.

Short version, went out with some friends and the 2-hour pace group. Two of us ditched the 2-hour group about 7-miles in. Although it wasn't hot, I was struggling to stay cool. I think it was the aid station at the 4-mile mark where I first dumped water on my head. I repeated that process three other times during the race. More water went over my head then into me.

I never really was thirsty, but I should have made more of an attempt to get some calories in. By the end I was dead, no gas left in the tank, and no kick for the finish line. Other than the first mile, where it was so congested it was hard to get up to speed, mile 13 was my slowest at 9:09. Mile 9 was my fastest at 8:27, followed by mile 11 at 8:31. I guess those two stretches may have had something to do with me dieing at the end.

The results, which I'm thrilled with by the way.

Overall - 1,108/3,685 (finishers)

Men - 715/1503

Age Group - 128/258

Total Time: 1:55:03 (8:47/mile)

After hanging around the finish line and the cool down area for a bit, I did what any normal triathlete would do after running a half marathon, I rode my bike home. Nothing serious, a fairly easy 16-mile "cool down" ride. Legs are definitely sore now, tomorrow should be interesting.

Friday, May 22, 2009

3 x 11 x 3 x 23 x 3

That would be by number for the Madison half marathon Sunday, 6831.  If you see me out there stop by and say hi.  Will be wearing blue shorts, orange sleeveless shirt, white visor.  Probably be half asleep prerace, half dead post race.

Looking to break two hours.  If I get through the first couple miles without issue I think I can do it.  The weather appears to be favorable. 

Good luck to all racing this weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I can't take it!

I sent the following email (with the above subject line) to by boss's boss last night after coming home from the pool. His son swims on the club team which has invaded my pool.

Can you please remove your club team from my swimming pool. It's humbling, if not down right embarrassing to swim next to them. Are they really that fast, or am I really that slow?

How long before your pool is back up? I don't think I can get back in the pool with them.

Holy crap those kids are fast. Felt like I was going backwards. Four lanes with 4+ kids per lane, and every one of them absolutely dusting me lap after lap. Back, butterfly, breast, didn't matter what stroke they were doing. No way in hell I could even think of holding their pace.

I'm used to swimming in a nearly empty pool, quite often I'm the only one there, especially near the end. I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to share a lane with anyone. Yes, I'm lucky in that respect. So to now swim in a crowded pool with a ton of fast kids, extremely humbling.

As cold as the lakes still are, open water swimming is looking that much more appealing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meaningless Milestone #1

With last nights run, I've surpassed my total run mileage from last year.  In 2008, I ran a total of 309.2 miles in 55 hours, 37 minutes, and 4 seconds, for an average pace of 10:47.  So far this year I've run a total of 310.35 miles in 51 hours, 34 minutes, and 39 seconds, for an average pace of 9:58.  I'm guessing that by the time 2009 is through I'll have run close to 900 miles.  Ouch.

I suspect that I'll eclipse my 2008 swim and bike totals in either late May or early June if all goes well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Have Fun

My wife tells me this every time I leave for the pool. I scoff, the pool is not fun. At least not this pool, under these circumstances.

But this training regiment, this journey towards Ironman. It should be fun, it should be enjoyable. With workout durations and intensities increasing, it's easy to forget this.

Yesterday on my ride home I encountered another rider on a side street in Madison. Nothing overly remarkable about him, middle aged man riding a 30 year old bike. But he had a huge grin on his face as he was doing big sweeping turns. Think of a skier coming down a groomed ski run, like that.

That should be me. Enjoying the moment. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely enjoying it big picture. I'm in better shape than I've ever been, doing things I never thought I'd do, I sleep better, and in general, I just feel better. But in the moment, while actually swimming, biking, or running, I definitely have difficulty remembering that this should be fun. That I should be enjoying this.

A couple of months ago I bought a little brass bell for my bike. I bought it just for this purpose. To remind myself to have fun and try not to take everything so seriously. I think it's time to install the bell.

Have fun out there. Smile. Laugh. If not at others, than at yourself. Life is to short.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bear Trax Photos

Couple of pictures from the Bear Trax 20k last week.

I beleive this is coming into the finish line. I look (and felt) like crap, but check out the muscle definition in those legs.

If I remember correctly this is right at the end of mile 7, near the top of a really long hill. I remember wanting to roll the photographer down the hill for picking this particular location to take pictures.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's a Love Hate Thing

As much as I like having a good tailwind. I absolutely hate riding into it. Saturday's ride was a prime example. Plan was to ride out to Verona and back. There was a pretty stiff head wind pretty much all the way out.

To illustrate, coming up on twenty minutes into the ride I was already calculating how much I had left. "Almost 1/9th of the way done" was what went through my head. For you math whizzes out there, I was planning on riding three hours.

I hate it, hate it, hate it. It saps the energy out of me like nothing else. And I don't buy any of that bullshit about the wind being your friend either, so don't even try.

Regardless, I made it out to my turn around point in Verona at the 1:32 mark. Made it back along the exact same route in 1:11. Almost exact same average heart rate both ways. Stupid wind.

From my driveway it is 13.6 hilly miles to the IM bike course at the corner of Syene and Irish on the stick. I'd prefer to drive out to Verona and just ride the loop every week, but when time is short, like it was on Saturday, this route will have to suffice. Either way it will be nice to have the "home field advantage" come race day.

If anyone cares to come out and ride the course with me I'd welcome the company. Drop me a line and I'm sure we can work something out, as long as your willing to slow down to my paltry 15-16mph average pace.